The PC demo of Destiny 2 so far is following the same basic pattern that the PS4 weekend did, including a brief two hour window for players to explore the new Farm social space. During the PS4 weekend I didn’t actually get the participate in this because it happened during a Saturday afternoon when I was out running errands with my wife. As a result I was more than amped to be able to actually see what would ultimately be our new home as Guardians. Are we even Guardians now without the light? The space is gorgeous though I have to admit I am constantly feeling like someone is just about to line up a sniper shot on me. The only times we have been able to be in the EDZ aka the European Dead Zone as player are during a handful of Crucible maps… one of which has this insane corridor down the center of the map where everyone snipes you. The farm as a whole though was a fairly dead experience given that there are no NPCs at all… nor is there even the fabled Chicken. That said I think the farm is going to work a lot better than the Tower did, as everything we need seems to be greatly compacted. I liked this about the Temple of Iron, but the only problem there was we didn’t have access to the various faction vendors. I am however super pumped that Tyra Karn is the Cryptarch we are keeping rather than Master Rahool or the charlatan Master Ives at the Reef that was constantly bugged. This is the point where the AggroChat crew gives me crap for knowing the names of the Cryptarchs.
I think more than anything I am curious to see how this space populates with stuff. I’ve heard rumor that this is going to be a lot like Meredil was in World of Warcraft, that as you roam around the world you “save” people and bring them back to the farm. If this is true then I guess it makes sense why there were no NPCs showing up… because there may simply not be a basepop for the zone. What is available may load based on your progression in the game, with some sort of an instancing tech. Either that or they may have just stripped everything out for the sake of the demo. There are folks in my clan that reported that the social space worked their CPU and GPU harder than any other area we have seen, and I can only imagine that is due to all of the models being tracked. I am not sure what the new social space limits are, but it definitely seemed like a sizable bit larger than tower. During one of the heated football matches, there were probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 players actively on the farm. This is small by MMO standards but pretty decent sized for something that is functionally a shooter lobby. The other big takeaway is just how damned gorgeous everything is. There are docks leading out on the lake… and I am hoping that we maybe get a few boats to explore. The area surrounding the Farm in game supposedly has lots of signs and directions in German… so in theory that places this area in Germany? Considering all we have really seen of Earth is the area surrounding the Baikonur Cosmodrome, it is going to be awesome seeing completely new vistas.
After some time roaming around the farm, I gathered together with a few clanmates to run the strike since Tony aka DrGoob had not seen it. The clan is slowly in the process of migrating from Band to Discord… to some success. The primary reason is that the PC chat built into Destiny 2 is absolutely horrible. I mean on some level it is functional chat, but it sounds worse than any audio on a PC should. In many ways it reminds me of the way that the original implementation of voice chat sounded in World of Warcraft. Functionally it is tinny and quiet and compressed to living hell to make it take up as little bandwidth as humanly possible. The other night Grace and I attempted to use it, and ultimately fell back on other voice comms because it was just too bad to stomach. Apparently Tequila Mockingbird reached the same conclusion and finally latched onto Discord with both hands as providing a reasonable chat experience. The voice chat on PSN was always horrible… but you sort of put up with it because it was a console. It is a complete sin to use something this bad on the PC where there is Discord, Teamspeak, Mumble, Ventrilo, Skype and a plethora of other options waiting to be used. The real interesting thing ahead is to see how the game shakes out… and where everyone ends up. Thus far pretty much every PS4 player that has access to a machine that can run this game… is heavily leaning towards the PC version. The PC running on the lowest preset… looks better than the stock PS4 running the game. Let that sink in for a moment. In truth I would say the PC running at Medium… looks better than what I have seen from the PS4 Pro captured footage. My three year old gaming laptop runs the game well enough to give my PS4 a run for its money. Now I plan on playing both platforms because I like the PS4 and I like having multiple copies of Destiny… but It is almost 100% certain that I will be playing almost exclusively on the PC for awhile when it finally launches in October.